Warfare between Europeans and Indians was common in the seventeenth century. In 1622, the Powhatan Confederacy nearly wiped out the struggling Jamestown colony. Frustrated at the continuing conflicts, Nathaniel Bacon and a group of vigilantes destroyed the Pamunkey Indians before leading an unsuccessful revolt against colonial authorities in 1676. Intermittentwarfare also plagued early Dutch colonies in New York. In New England, Puritan forces annihilated the Pequots in 1636-1637, a campaign whose intensity seemed to foreshadow the future. Subsequent attacks inspired by Metacom (King Philip) against English settlements sparked a concerted response from the New England Confederation. Employing Indian auxiliaries and a scorched-earth policy, the colonistsnearly exterminated the Narragansetts, Wampanoags, and Nipmucks in 1675-1676. A major Pueblo revolt also threatened Spanish-held New Mexico in 1680.
Indians were also a key factor in the imperial rivalries among France, Spain, and England. In King William's (1689-1697), Queen Anne's (1702-1713), and King George's (1744-1748) wars, the French sponsored Abnaki and Mohawk raids against the more numerousEnglish. Meanwhile, the English and their trading partners, the Chickasaws and often the Cherokees, battled the French and associated tribes for control of the lower Mississippi River valley and the Spanish in western Florida. More decisive was the French and Indian War (1754-1763). The French and their Indian allies dominated the conflict's early stages, turning back several English columns inthe north. Particularly serious was the near-annihilation of Gen. Edward Braddock's force of thirteen hundred men outside of Fort Duquesne in 1755. But with English minister William Pitt infusing new life into the war effort, British regulars and provincial militias overwhelmed the French and absorbed all of Canada.
But eighteenth-century conflicts were not limited to the European wars for empire.In Virginia and the Carolinas, English-speaking colonists pushed aside the Tuscaroras, the Yamasees, and the Cherokees. The Natchez, Chick asaw, and Fox Indians resisted French domination, and the Apaches and Comanches fought against Spanish expansion into Texas. In 1763, an Ottawa chief, Pontiac, forged a powerful confederation against British expansion into the Old Northwest. Although his raidswreaked havoc upon the surrounding white settlements, the British victory in the French and Indian War combined with the Proclamation of 1763, which forbade settlement west of the Appalachian Mountains, soon eroded Pontiac's support.
Most of the Indians east of the Mississippi River now perceived the colonial pioneers as a greater threat than the British government. Thus northern tribes,especially those influenced by Mohawk chief Thayendanegea (Joseph Brant), generally sided with the Crown during the American War for Independence. In 1777, they joined the Tories and the British in the unsuccessful offensives of John Burgoyne and Barry St. Leger in upstate New York. Western Pennsylvania and New York became savage battlegrounds as the conflict spread to the Wyoming and Cherry valleys.Strong American forces finally penetrated the heart of Iroquois territory, leaving a wide swath of destruction in their wake.
Jose: In the Midwest, George Rogers Clark captured strategic Vincennes for the Americans, but British agents based at Detroit continued to sponsor Tory and Indian forays as far south as Kentucky. The Americans resumed the initiative in 1782, when Clark marched northwest intoShawnee and Delaware country, ransacking villages and inflicting several stinging defeats upon the Indians. To the south, the British backed resistance among the Cherokees, Chickasaws, Creeks, and Choctaws but quickly forgot their former allies following the signing of the Treaty of Paris (1783).
By setting the boundaries of the newly recognized United States at the Mississippi River and the...